HOW IT ALL STARTED AND WHERE WE ARE NOW

Composer Milica Paranosic and librettist Cheri Magid met at the 2018 Composer Librettist Studio at New Dramatists in New York.  Our jumping off point for the opera is the issue of faithfulness, which has two completely different metrics in The Odyssey, one for Odysseus and one--with barely any room to breathe--for Penelope.  We're interested in leveling the playing field.  Thus in our opera, Odysseus has just returned home and he and Penelope have just made love for the first time.  Odysseus falls asleep under a large and unusual blanket.  This is what Penelope has been weaving while Odysseus has been gone, rather than the shroud, and unbeknown to Odysseus, it is made from locks of hair from all of Penelope’s lovers. In a recurring motif, Penelope wonders, “Where should I weave his hair?”; where should she weave a lock of Odysseus’ hair into this narrative, in a way that fits her husband, who she loves more than anything, into her experience of those twenty years?  How can she unite these two selves?  Other female characters from the Odyssey-- goddesses, demi-goddesses and slaves—add their voice to the mix, bringing their own experience of sexual agency or the lack thereof.  At the end of the opera, Penelope decides to wake Odysseus up, to tell him her experience, for better or for worse.

WE ARE TELLING A  STORY OF A DIEFFERENT PENELOPE. WE ARE investigating  fidelity, love, sensuality and desire, comletelty from a woman's angle, ignored in Odyssey as we know  it.


The opera is scored for harp, flute and cello and those instruments' ancient twins: ancient lyre, aulos and Serbian gusle (Milica is from Serbia and there is a connection between the ancient oral storytelling tradition in Serbia and in Greece). The chorus (which can be 3,6, 9 or 12 people) are all sopranos and Penelope is a mezzo-soprano.

Songs from the opera have been performed at Composer's Concordance and Make Music Harlem in New York and at Sewanee University of the South for the summers 2018 and 2019.  

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Links and Things

Links/Press

PRESS - The Mountain Now

Coming events

May 2020 - 11 Jane St. Art Center, Saugerties, NY - workshop

Testimonials

It's brilliant.

Stephanie McCarter, Associate Professor of Classics, Sewanee, Tennessee 


Penelope becomes Homer.

- Terry Papillon

Dean of College, Professor of Classical Languages


A powerful and provocative and sonically moving combination.

- Woody Register

Francis S. Houghteling Professor of American History

B.A., University of the South; A.M., Ph.D., Brown University

workshop perfomances - links

Sewanee, July 2019,  Penelope and the Geese SUT Theater  
Sewanee: The University of the South  Sewanee Music Festival July 12 2019

University of Delaware, OPERA:NOW

OPERA:NOW will present a world premiere workshop of composer Milica Paranosic and librettist Cheri Magid's Penelope.

University of Delaware, 

March  2019 

Bayard Sharp Hall, Bayard Sharp Hall
Bayard Sharp Hall, Newark, DE 19711, USA


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